Consumers Embrace NFC Phone Payments

The first “Near Field Communication” pilot in North America has been completed in Atlanta showing that participants overwhelmingly embraced the technology. Starting in December, 150 Atlanta Thrashers and Atlanta Hawks season ticket holders with both a Chase-issued VISA credit account and a Cingular Wireless account made payments at contactless readers supplied by ViVOtech at concession stands throughout Philips Arena. Participants indicated that they would like to use their mobile devices for payment at a variety of merchant locations, for any purchase size, and see value in accessing multiple payment accounts on their mobile devices in the future. The trial was a collaboration between Chase, Cingular Wireless, Nokia, NXP, VISA USA and ViVOtech, along with Atlanta Spirit.

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First PREMIER to Issue Cubis STV Cards

Las Vegas-based Cubis Financial has secured First PREMIER Bank as an issuer of its stored-value, prepaid card offers. Cubis Financial has developed a new Express Card(TM) — a general use stored-value card — to serve the needs of the card-in-a-box industry. Cubis Financial, Ltd. (www.CubisFinancial.com) is a technology-driven financial services marketing company. First PREMIER Bank (www.FirstPremier.com) believes that the combination of local ownership and its commitment to technology for the delivery of services provides a unique ability to offer personalized, flexible banking services to customers on a local or national basis.

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Circuit City Credit Card Data Trashed

Chase is notifying 2.6 million current and former Circuit City credit card account holders that computer tapes containing their personal information were mistakenly identified as trash and thrown out. After a thorough investigation it looks like the tapes, contained within a locked box, were compacted, destroyed and buried in a landfill. Notification to affected individuals began today and should be completed over the next two to three weeks. A one-year, free credit monitoring service is being offered to individuals whose Social Security number was on the tapes. Chase say it has been monitoring all of the affected accounts and has not identified any misuse of personal information connected to this occurrence.

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Apollo Enterprise Hires Fontaine

CA-based Apollo Enterprise Solutions, a provider of Web-based payment and collection technology, has hired Ed Fontaine, formerly with Debt Resolve and Experian, as VP/Sales. Prior to joining Apollo, Fontaine served as Vice President of Sales with Debt Resolve. He also spent 6 years with Experian as a Senior Account Executive where he was primarily responsible for accounts within Collections, Energy and Healthcare verticals. Fontaine received his FCRA Certification from Associated Credit Bureaus, now known as Consumer Data Industry Association, and is an associate member of ACA for Credit and Collection Professionals. Apollo Enterprise Solutions, LLC, headquartered in Irvine, California, provides enterprise-class web-hosted solutions for a variety of industries involved in receivables management and debt collections.

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Travel Tags Unveils the Nattera Card

MN-based Travel Tags has introduced its “Nattera Card” made of corn-based PLA, a naturally renewable resource. The Nattera Card is made of PLA, or Polylactide, which is a versatile polymer made of lactic acid. Lactic acid is made from dextrose by fermentation. Dextrose is made from cornstarch, which is essentially carbon dioxide and water. Travel Tags, with 30 years of plastic printing experience, is headquartered in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota.

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Credit Card Advertising Way Up in Q2

Driven by credit card promotion, overall advertising for financial services rose 8% in the second quarter. This is the third consecutive quarter that the ad spend for financial services has topped $2 billion. According to TNS Media Intelligence, advertising expenditures for financial services for the second quarter was $4.33 billion, compared to $4.00 billion for 2Q/05. Among the top ten advertising categories for the second quarter financial services ranked as number two. For the first half of 2006, the Internet accounted for 6.4% of total ad spending, up from 5.6% a year ago. Newspapers lost 1.3 share points over this period, slipping to 18.6 percent of expenditures and falling behind magazines.

AD SPEND
2Q/05: $4.00 billion
3Q/05: $1.88 billion
4Q/05: $2.60 billion
1Q/06: $2.15 billion
4Q/06: $4.33 billion
Source: TNS Media Intelligence

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U.S. DOJ Clears VeriFone’s Lipman Deal

As expected VeriFone has received clearance from the DOJ for its acquisition of Lipman. Shareholder meetings for each company are scheduled for mid-September and, if each group of shareholders approves the transaction, the parties expect to close on November 1st following the expiration of a 30-day waiting period required by Israeli law after the Lipman shareholders’ meeting. In April VeriFone announced the deal to acquire Lipman, which is valued around $793 million. Last month VeriFone acquired Trintech’s payment systems business. Earlier this week VeriFone reported that revenues for the quarter were up 17% to $147.6 million compared to one-year ago, driven by a 19% increase in net revenues from its North America business. (CF Library 9/5/06)

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Mellon Financial Acquires ClearTran

PA-based Mellon Financial has acquired NJ-based ClearTran, a provider of electronic and online bill payment solutions. Under the terms of the transaction, ClearTran becomes part of the Mellon Working Capital Solutions business, but remains based in Parsippany. Since 2001, Mellon WCS has teamed with ClearTran through a marketing alliance arrangement. ClearTran’s suite of products and services currently includes electronic bill payment, online bill payment, electronic check, e-check, check by phone, check by web, direct debit, ACH, credit card payment and debit card payment.

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Identita Technologies Buys CardXX

San Francisco-based Identita Technologies has inked a deal with CardXX for the purchase of all its manufacturing capability and intellectual property. The purchase price is $13.5 million and is expected to close within 60 to 90 days. CO-based CardXX developed patented technologies to securely encapsulate electronics into smart cards and other portable devices or form factors. Identita specializes in powered card devices.

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U.S. Bank Lands Coll for Card Businesses

U.S. Bank has named Patrick Coll, former chairman and CEO of Fleet Bank Credit Card Services, to the position of EVP of retail payments, overseeing the company’s consumer credit, debit, stored value and prepaid card businesses. Coll brings nearly 35 years of banking, marketing and card industry experience to the position. He most recently founded Percolate, which is a marketing services company, and prior to that was chairman and chief executive officer of Fleet Bank Credit Card Services, where he had been since 1998. U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB), with more than $213 billion in assets, is the 6th largest financial holding company in the United States.

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INSIDE FUNDING

After raising more than $10 million last year from a group of investors that included VISA International, INSIDE Contactless has closed a new round of funding of $25 million. The new funding will accelerate the development of its payment and near field communication businesses as well as expand its presence in Asia and the U.S. The round of funding was led by Granite Global Ventures. The other new investor for this round was EuroUs Venture. Current investors who contributed to half of the total amount of this round led by Sofinnova Partners, now the largest shareholder, include Vertex Venture Capital, Vertex Management, GIMV, and Siparex Ventures.In 2005, INSIDE raised $10.6 million from Sofinnova, Vertex Venture Capital, GIMV, Siparex Ventures, and VISA International.

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